This story was updated on Oct. 16, 2012.
At least two Olney families were displaced after a fire destroyed a townhouse on Thursday.
The call came in at 4:20 p.m. for a townhouse fire at 4508 Cannes Lane in the Norbeck Hills community. Firefighters arrived to find the home ravaged by the blaze, and the adjacent homes had suffered moderate damage.
The fire was started by a plumber who was sweating pipes on the exterior of the building, said Assistant Chief Scott Graham, a Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman.
“Someone on the inside of the house noticed the smoke coming through the walls,” he said. “There may have been a delay in calling 911 because they tried to fight it themselves, and the fire grew exponentially because of that.”
Graham said firefighters remained on the scene for seven hours. They brought in an excavator to remove the debris, to make sure that the fire was completely extinguished.
There were no injuries, he said.
“It was a pretty cut and dry fire,” he said. “Thank God no one was hurt.”
Christine Parks, a neighbor who lives on the street behind Cannes Lane, said the family had only moved in about two weeks before the fire.
“It hits home — it’s just a horrible, tragic thing,” she said. “I wish there was more I could do to help.”
Parks said that Olney Help, a local nonprofit agency that provides emergency food and financial assistance, contacted her about providing assistance to the family, which includes the mother, two teens and a grandfather.
The American Red Cross is also providing temporary assistance to the family.
The teens, both males, are freshman at Col. Zadok Magruder High School in Rockville.
According to a notice posted on the Olney Brookeville Exchange listserv, the Magruder PTSA is collecting clothing, toiletries, food, gift cards and cash.
A homeowner, who lives in one of the adjacent houses, said Tuesday that it will take at least six months before she is able to move back into her home. She and her family are currently staying with a friend.
Graham did not know if anyone was living in the other adjacent home, and said that it may have been a rental unit.